By Courtney Bergman
The annual Lincoln Event, hosted by the Morgan County Republican Party, continued its tradition of success this year serving as a format for honoring several of Morgan County’s residents who demonstrate excellence in service and citizenship.
This year’s gala hosted many members of Morgan County’s Republican Party, as well as several dignitaries from the State of Utah. Those in attendance included Congressman Rob Bishop; Utah State Senator Alan Christensen; Utah State Senator Ann Milner; Utah State Representative Logan Wilde; and State Auditor John Dougall; as well as Phil Wright, vice chair to the Utah Republican Party and Lisa Shephard, secretary of the Utah Republican Party.
Not only does the Lincoln Event serve as an opportunity to honor Morgan County citizens who have diligently served their communities or greatly expanded their citizenship, it also provides candidates, representatives and constituents a forum in which to express their ideas, platforms and goals for the people they serve.
In previous years, the luncheon has hosted opposing candidates, allowing them opportunities to speak with the voters of Morgan County and persuade individuals to support their particular agendas. Although this year was not an election year, several conversations regarding politics, questions to elected officials and concerns over current conditions floated throughout the room and were shared over sandwiches and dessert, showing the committed involvement of members of the Morgan County Republican Party in the affairs of the county and state.
Following a warm welcome from Kera Birkeland, chairwoman of the Morgan County Republican Party, and entertainment provided by Stephanie Toney, the Lincoln Awards were presented to each selected honoree. Awards were presented by Utah State dignitaries, beginning with John Dougall, state auditor, who presented the first award to Emma Winkler.
Emma is a part-time student at Morgan High School. Her extensive work with children with special needs and students who require extra assistance, including those who may just need a kind word or quick hand of fellowship, has earned her the reputation of being sensitive, kind, compassionate and a friend to all. She is unafraid to showcase her talents to better her community and is determined to be successful in every endeavor. She was honored for her outreach and leadership skills and abilities.
Congressman Rob Bishop next honored Lydia Nuttall with the second Lincoln Award. After observing current curricula and feeling that there was a significant deficit in awareness surrounding the birth of our nation, specifically the origins of the Constitution of the United States, Nuttall became determined to author a work that would educate students regarding the nation’s Founding Fathers and encourage appreciation for the U.S. Constitution. After publishing, she obtained several grants that allowed her to gift copies of her book to entities throughout the county, including each of the schools within the district.
Rod Haslam received the third award, presented by Utah Senator Ann Milner. For many years, Haslam donated a great portion of his time overseeing the Utah Livestock Show within Morgan County. He was also a member of the Utah Rodeo Club for over 15 years. He shared his passion for rodeo with his sons, who have continued in the footsteps of their father. Most significantly, Haslam oversaw the Morgan County Fair for over 20 years and served as a county councilman. He resigned from the Morgan County Council and his other areas of interest when it was discovered he required a heart transplant. However, this did not slow him down for long. Following the successful receipt of his new heart, Haslam again continued his service to his community and currently serves as the assistant director on the Morgan County Fair Board.
So impressed was James Evans, chairman of the Utah Republican Party, of the next honoree’s resume, that he requested the assistance of Phil Wright, vice chair, to assist in the award presentation. Hunter Anderson, along with his fellow honorees, indeed displays an impressive list of accomplishments. As a full-time student at Morgan High School, Hunter serves as the president of the debate team and loves playing chess, watching movies, and hanging out with friends. However, when a friend of his attempted to complete suicide, he became passionate about ensuring that every student would have a safe place to come when life became overwhelming. When counselors at Morgan High School decided to instigate the Hope Squad, a group of students dedicated to formulating friendships and making sure every student had a friend to turn to in times of crisis, Hunter was the first volunteer and has faithfully served as a member since its inception. He continues his passion as an advocate for life, striving each day to eliminate suicide among teenagers.
The final honorees received a well deserved extended applause for their service—the Morgan County American Legion. Comprising of the veterans who have served throughout Morgan County, this organization not only focuses on providing an Honor Guard for fellow fallen comrades, but also promoting patriotism in schools. From providing programs on Memorial Day to teaching classes on flag etiquette, this organization strives to ensure that the sacrifices of their fellow members and all of those who have served to protect the freedoms of our country are never forgotten.
As the luncheon concluded and hands were shaken, each honored participant graciously accepted their statuette, but still continued conversations about their next steps for advancing their service to their community and striving to continue those efforts outside of their county. Those who have been recipients of their service and good works will most certainly remain appreciative and the community has most assuredly benefited and will continue benefiting from their ongoing advocacies.